Emirates Airlines President, Sir Tim Clark, says that his company and its United States rivals – American, Delta, and United Airlines – would all do well to agree on a truce.
At the same time, Clark bewailed the campaign that his rivals are using in this long-standing dispute.
“They need to grow up and we need to have a mature way of going about our business,” Clark said in a recent interview.
Clark asserted that the US’ “Big Three” have failed to present evidence that his company’s presence in the US market – along with that of Gulf carriers Etihad and Qatar Airways – are causing direct harm.
The three US airlines have long accused the Gulf carriers of receiving over $52 million in state subsidies, which they say is a breach of the Open Skies pact that oversees air travel between the US and the home nations of the Middle Eastern carriers, thereby causing harm to the American carriers through one-sided competition.
However, the Gulf carriers have denied these accusations and in response, have pointed to the business that their presence in the US market, have brought.
“The beneficiaries of Open Skies driven by the likes of us has been the US economy and that’s kindly marginalized in the US3’s narrative,” Clark said.
“We asked them to show competitive harm, but they won’t because they can’t.”
“They haven’t got a leg to stand on so they go after this theater, this noise,” he added. “They put big banners up at the Atlanta Airport.”
Clark went on to liken his company’s rivals maneuvers to that of a “three-year-old at the playground.”
However, in spite of their differences with the US carriers, the Emirates boss believes that they should all just stop bickering and find ways to instead work together.
“It seems to be lost on them that this can work and make everybody happy,” Clark stated.
“For goodness sake, all of the business we bring across (the ocean). Don’t you think they’d want to go other places than Chicago?”
“Think about the feed we do give to my friend Robin Hayes who runs JetBlue in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, and Boston,” Clark pointed out.
“And on the other side, I’ve got Brad Tilden with Alaska on Seattle and all the points down there.”
Clark said that the obvious result of all their fighting is money left on the table.
Clarks hopes that the US airlines could realize that “when one of those Airbus A380s lands in New York, the feed going out to multiple points in the US could be mine.”
“It’s just a matter of turning on the tap,” he added.
However, the US carriers have decided on a totally different route, which is refusing Emirates passengers to connect onto their flights.
“What they’ve done is cut the interline deal,” Clark said.
“Emirates can’t sell tickets on any of them. I mean talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.”